Actor: 'Suicidal maniacs' fill U.S.

Published May 26, 2007

WASHINGTON - Fred Thompson, a potential Republican presidential candidate, suggested that the 1986 immigration law signed by President Ronald Reagan is to blame for the country's illegal immigrants and he bemoaned a nation beset by "suicidal maniacs."

"Twelve-million illegal immigrants later, we are now living in a nation that is beset by people who are suicidal maniacs and want to kill countless innocent men, women and children around the world, " the former Tennessee senator said. "We're sitting here now with essentially open borders."

He made the comments Thursday night as he discussed the 1986 immigration reform bill and the Senate's current legislation to overhaul the immigration system during a speech at the annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner in Stamford, Conn.

Thompson, an actor on NBC's popular drama Law & Order, is widely expected to enter the GOP presidential race this summer.

Immigration has dominated the Republican presidential race this week, with candidates seeking to navigate the tricky politics of the Senate measure that many conservatives oppose. They make up a large part of the GOP base whose votes are critical in the Republican primary contests.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Thompson, said he was not calling immigrants "suicidal maniacs" but, rather was referring to terrorists who seek to enter the United States through borders that have lax security.

Other campaigning

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the only Hispanic in the Democratic presidential race, has changed his view of immigration legislation, saying Friday he opposes it unless significant changes are made.

"I read that they added more funding for the fence. I am against the fence. I've always been against it. I didn't realize the fence construction was in there, " Richardson said at a news conference. "It's a terrible symbol."

The Senate bill provided for 370 miles of fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Democrat John Edwards on Friday unveiled a new policy to support veterans, service members and military families.

If elected, "I will do everything to support our troops that is not being done today, " he said.

North Dakota will join at least a dozen other states holding presidential primaries and caucuses on Feb. 5 in what is shaping up to be a national primary.

Feminist Martha Burk, who led the fight to open the Augusta National Golf Club to women, said Friday she was "absolutely" convinced that women would vote in increased numbers in the 2008 presidential election if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Democratic Party's nominee.